The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that cell phone and data service is godawful in Great American Ballpark:
Thousands of fans who have attended Great American Ball Park and watched the games from next-door bars and restaurants have been unable to send text messages, email photos, post to Facebook and access the Internet during the Reds’ postseason games.
They aren’t alone. Residents of nearby apartments also have been experiencing mobile network access problems that may only get worse if the Reds advance deeper into the postseason.
As someone who takes in a fair amount of games at that park, I can attest to these problems. I know all parks have some connectivity issues, but I’ve never seen worse than I’ve seen in Cincinnati. It’s almost impossible to get a signal when there is even a halfway decent crowd in the joint.
Which, as they say, is a First World Problem. Maybe not for doctors or people on call for emergencies — and the article does quote one such person, and for him I do have sympathy for her — but for the folks who jut want to text, post pictures and gab, it’s one of those things that not a lot of people in the world are going to have a ton of sympathy for.
Oh well, maybe it’ll be different for today’s game. According to StubHub, there are still a few thousand seats available, so fewer people will be fighting for bandwidth …
Last week it was widely speculated that Shohei Otani, the highly-touted Japanese pitcher/designated hitter who stars for the Nippon Ham Fighters, would not come to the United States to play due to changes in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The upshot: the new CBA caps money available to international free agents under age 25 at $5-6 million and Otani, 22, would be worth way more than that, so why take the pay cut?
Now, however, Jeff Passan of Yahoo reports that the Fighters are set to post Shotei Otani following the 2017 season. Passan says that his sources have told him that there are potential ways around the limit on spending for under-25 players like Shohei Otani and he links a Japanese article from Sponichi which says the Fighters would post him after the 2017 season.
It’d be interesting to see what that loophole is. Without knowing the exact terms of the CBA on this score it’s impossible to know, but one possibility is that there are different rules applicable to those with professional experience in other countries as opposed to amateur free agents.
Whatever the case, the notion that we could see Otani in the U.S. at age 23 or 24 is pretty exciting.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.